DEVELOPING LEADERS FOR CHURCH PLANTING AND BEYOND

You have heard the saying, ABC: Always be closing. In ministry the phrase should be ABD: Always be developing leaders (including recruiting leaders). When recruiting people for your church plant, consider reaching those far from Christ, finding people who need a church to grow in their faith, and gathering leaders who can help you support the mission of the church.

“If I were running a company today I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could [because] the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people.”

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

Such a good thought for church planters in the recruiting phase. I believe this also applies to all seasons of any organization. Leaders are the skeleton that supports church growth. You can swell without good leaders. You can gather by taking advantage of seasons and great planning for an event. But sustainable growth requires great leaders and teams of leaders to hold the pieces together. Leaders are the ones who transmit the values and culture into others.

“Leaders are the skeleton that supports church growth.”

Understanding the following three phases of pastoring helps you develop leaders while taking care of everyone else in the church.

Reaching new people. If your church plant is not reaching out to those far from God, then you are missing the point. A new church should not merely add a new worship service to a community. It should be an outpost of help and rescue, actively displaying the love of Christ by helping people meet their spiritual and physical needs.

Caring for members. Members easily can be overlooked in the mix of starting a new church or growing an existing church. Alternately, they can become the total focus of a church that then unintentionally ignores other groups. Being a wise pastor means continuously providing love, encouragement, and correction to members. We must cry with them and celebrate them. Our goal with this group is to help them take one step at a time in their faith, patiently caring for them along the way.

Developing leaders. Leaders require a different type of attention and plan of action. We don’t love any group more than another, but to love everyone equally, we must love each person differently. As a church planter, keep your eyes open for gatherers. These are people who carry their own influence and have a desire to share that influence with you to grow the local church. The goal is to let them know they are appreciated, while encouraging them to carry the culture. They may get more access to you, and this investment is significant. When the time is right, you will multiply your efforts by delegating responsibility to your leaders.

To summarize, we must focus on recruiting three types of people: New people, through service and outreach; new members, through gatherings and pastoral care; and new leaders, through access and individualized plans. This is not only an important strategy for church planting; it is an effective approach to get and hang on to the right people and help your ministry achieve its mission of reaching the community and growing Christ-followers.

This article first appeared at arc churches.com

CHURCH PLANT RECRUITING LESSONS LEARNED DURING THE PANDEMIC

HOW DO YOU PLAY BASEBALL WITHOUT A BAT, BALL, OR GLOVE?

In the new environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic, church planters learned that the way to home plate may not begin with first base. While the aim to launch a large church remains, how they achieve this goal looks different from before. Church planters already face the unique challenge of starting a church without a permanent space, committed people, or residual income; but now, even the ability to begin accumulating these necessary resources for the launch of a new ministry has been removed.

High-Touch Impact in a Low-Touch Environment

The ARC church planting process typically begins with start-up parties to bring people together. These interest gatherings allow people to meet others who are part of the church launch, hear the vision of the church, and express their level of interest. During the pandemic when people are uncomfortable meeting together and event spaces are not available, church planters have had to be creative in connecting with others. Aaron Burke, the pastor of Radiant Church in Tampa, Florida, says we need to figure out how to “create a high-touch impact in a low-touch environment.”

Virtual Dinner Partiers

To accomplish this, some have created DoorDash Dinner Parties to meet with others interested in joining their launch team. The church orders meals for everyone through a delivery service, and then they all connect on Zoom. Others have followed up one-on-one conversations by delivering small gift cards, a tangible reminder, and an expression of the church’s heart.

Reach Out is the New Outreach

Explaining the shift churches are making during this time, JJ Vasquez, pastor of Journey Church in Winter Springs, Florida, says: “Reach out is the new outreach.”

Casting a wider net can be accomplished by streaming your start-up party on Facebook. Those who confirm attendance receive pizza delivered to their homes. The meeting is still open to anyone who wants to attend without having to make a reservation. These are fun and engaging meetings.

You may begin your meeting with a game. One church planter asked everyone to “count all the times our logo is on the screen, and the winner gets free church swag.” The only catch was the pastor had no idea how many times the logo was on the screen. Everyone who sent in a response received the free church gear. This was a fun way to keep people engaged.

Turn cold leads into warm leads.

The bases and the base paths may look different, but the principles of a large launch remain the same. Turn cold leads into warm leads. Put people first and connect with them in a low-pressure environment to measure their interest. Then follow up one-on-one to see if they are fit to join the launch team. These meetings between the church planters and those interested in taking the next step can be held online through FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Hangout.

Holding in-person weekend services is a continual problem because the spaces typically used by church planters are not available. New precautions have made it difficult for churches to launch in schools, theaters, and other shared venues.

HOW DO YOU PLAY BASEBALL WITHOUT A BAT, BALL, OR GLOVE?

As municipal and business leaders determine the next best steps for public safety, those wanting to start new churches have been forced to wait, indefinitely, for restrictions to be lifted before they have the opportunity to gather in person.

To navigate this new reality, ARC is helping churches launch virtually. When the outbreak began, our team made an immediate pivot to find the best resources for online church and get them to pastors as quickly as possible. Our ARC Launch Team shifted its approach by reaching out weekly to our church planters and offering counsel, resources, and training to enable them to launch online.

We have also temporarily adjusted our funding model to help churches start strong online. We have consulted churches, leaders, and businesses with online streaming experiences to create essential budgets and tools needed to launch virtually. When churches cannot launch physically due to restrictions in their areas, ARC is ready to come alongside them and see their dream of planting new life-giving churches become a reality.

This blog first appeared at arc churches.com

Creating a Culture of Prayer

“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” – Corrie ten Boom

Do you have intercessors providing a prayer shield for your church? How have you prioritized prayer in your church? In the uncertain times we live in, prayer has never been more critical. This not only true for you personally, but also for your team and church members. It is vital to create a culture of prayer in your church from the beginning. If we pray more than we preach, then we will never be preaching to just ourselves.*

The first two ARC churches both began with a season of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Church of the Highlands continues to start each year with 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting and also does 21 Days of Prayer at the beginning of the school year. Church of the Highlands is known for its systems and practical help to church planters, but much of the church’s growth can be attributed to their commitment to prayer.

“If you are going to plant a church, then you have to win the war in the spiritual.” – Chris Hodges

Four Keys for Church Planters to Win the War in the Spiritual:

1. 21 Days of Prayer – Have a season of prayer and fasting leading up to your launch day. At ARC, we teach to launch on the fourth Sunday in January. Not only is this one of the most attended launch days on the calendar, but it also gives planters time to lead their team in 21 Days of Prayer leading up to their launch day.

2. Develop a Prayer Team – Have a prayer team as part of your dream team. I once heard it said that every decision for Christ is a result of someone else’s prayers. On your dream team, you should have members of your team praying during the worship experience. There is a spiritual battle taking place every time people come to church for the first time. Let’s post some prayer warriors at the spiritual gates of church services.

3. Have Personal Intercessors – As the church pastor, you need to have a few trusted people covering you and your family in prayer. The spiritual attacks on pastors in the season of launching a church is real. Your intercessors are those you communicate your schedule and needs to so that they can be proactive in praying for you.

4. Group Prayer – Lead a regular time of prayer with your church. Do not delegate the responsibility of group prayer to someone else. From the very beginning of your church, you should be the one leading these prayer meetings. Even later in your church’s life, when you may not lead every meeting, you should still show up. This communicates to the congregation that your church is a place of prayer and that you are winning the battle in the spiritual.

The first teaching in the ARC Church Planting process is “Winning the War in the Spiritual.” You can watch it for free at arcchurches.com. If you are a pastor looking for resources on prayer, you can find many helpful tools from Church of the Highlands. At this site, you will find teachings on prayer and downloaded prayer guides, and other useful items you can give out in your church.

*Rephrased from this quote: “See to it that we pray more than we preach, and we will never preach ourselves out.” A.W. Tozer

This content originally appeared at arcchurches.com.

The Final Marketing Push

10 PROMOTIONAL BOOSTS FOR YOUR FINAL MARKETING PUSH

The plan works when you work the plan. Promoting your launch is not just about spending money. You have to be willing to invest in advertising leading up to your launch day, and you also have to hustle. There is a grind in your final marketing campaign’s weeks and days, but it will pay off on launch day if you are willing to work at it.

Here are ten strategies you can use to gain an additional boost for your final marketing push.

01. THE RULE OF SEVEN

You need seven interactions before you get a transaction. In the church world, that would be seven contacts before they visit.

We want to get in front of as many people as possible as often as possible. Do everything we can do to reach as many people as possible, but everything points back to one thing: the website.

02. YOUR WEBSITE

Before you make your final marketing push, you need to make sure you switch your pre-launch website to your full website.

Front and center on your website should be your launch date, service times, and location.

Registration for kids’ ministry should also be available on your website. This will help the registration lines tremendously on launch day.
Everything on your website should be designed with first-time guests in mind.

03. GET FEEDBACK ON YOUR PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL

What do people who do not go to church think about your marketing material?

Do not just hear what church people think. Ask some people who are not yet involved in a church.

Know thyself:

“Know what you’re good at and lean on that. Know what you are not good at and hire someone to do that.”

– Marc Poland, Discover Church

04. MAILER

Mailers have a higher return on investment than social media marketing, but you do not have to choose one or the other. Do both.

Have your mailer go along with what people are thinking about and touch on a felt need.

It is not just the quantity of mailers but the quality of the mailer. Get feedback from those who have sent mailers in the past. Run it by your coach.

“We sent 150,000 oversized mailers in Philadelphia and had 450 people on launch day, and almost a year later are still adding people to the team from the mailer. At least ten people on our leadership team now came from the mailer.”

–Marc Poland, Discover Church

Remember: Have the mailer point to the website.

“The largest single reason people showed up on launch day was because of the mailer.”

– Joe Adams, Manna Church

05. SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING

Do multiple ads on multiple platforms, each targeting different types of people.

“Everyone wants to be known/belong and to have purpose/reason to exist. No one can help people with this more than Jesus, so we based all of our ads around those two ideas.”

– Joe Adams, Manna Church

“You should do at least two posts a day starting nine days out only talking about launch day. We used images from preview services and encourage people on our launch team to share as much as possible on their social media platforms.”

–Joe Adams, Manna Church

Reminder: Keep communicating where you are meeting and when the launch taking place.

Share a post on the morning of your launch day: “We are meeting today and cannot wait to see you! Be here (location) at (service time)!”

06. COMMUNICATE EXPECTATIONS

Let people know what they can expect from your church. Do not assume people already know what kind of church you are and what your culture is.

Take a video of the setup and show them what you are preparing for them.

If you want people with kids to come to your church, prioritize communicating what they can expect in the kid’s spaces. Remember, you are asking them to leave their kids in a different room than they will be in when they have never met you or been to your church before.

07. PERSONAL INVITES

Person-to-person invites will be one of the top reasons people attend launch day and will be the leading reason people continue to visit after launch day.

Create a budget for invites: Let your team know you do not just want them to invite people but also to take them out to lunch. Reserve $1,000 for people to take friends out to lunch and invite them to church.

Print out small square invite cards that people can hand friends and family to use when inviting people.

Sharing social media posts is free and highly effective. Make sure your posts are sharable and encourage your team to be online evangelists and share as well.

08. BE VISIBLE

Every weekend leading up to launch, be visible in your community doing outreach and community engagement.

  • Buy school supplies for elementary schools. For example: buy boxes of crayons to give to kids in elementary schools and include an invite card.
    Pay for people’s meals in restaurants in your neighborhood and give them an invite card.
  • Go to a grocery store and give out gift cards with an invite card as they enter.
  • Give away gas at a gas station and hand them an invite card. “One person pulled up to the gas station with an empty tank of gas and had forgotten her wallet at home. She had no idea how she was going to get home that day. We bought her gas and saw her on launch day.” – Marc Poland, Discover Church
  • Video all of these outreaches and show them on your social media. If someone attends or joins your team from one of these events, then share that story!
  • SWAG – Give away shirts, coffee cups, whatever that keeps your church visible leading up to launch.

09. GET YOUR TEAM INVOLVED IN INEXPENSIVE OUTREACHES

Outreach does not have to take away your team’s focus from launch day. Many inexpensive, low effort outreaches can make a significant impact. Here are some ideas:

  • Give away packs of gum.
  • Give away bottles of water.
  • Give away dog treats at a dog park.

“We now have someone on our leadership team that first heard about Manna Church when someone gave them a bag of dog treats at a dog park.”

– Joe Adams, Manna Church
  • Buy McDonald’s Sundaes gift cards ($1) and hand them out to people as they enter the restaurant.

10. KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING

On the Monday after launch, start planning to promote your second service.

Take the best picture of your launch day you can find and post it with something like this: “Did you miss the launch this Sunday? Don’t worry. You can join us next Sunday (time and place).” Then boost it and ask your team to share it.

This content first appeared at arcchurches.com and was sourced from the ARC Coaching Webinar, “The Final Marketing Push,” with Joe Adams of Manna Church in Colorado Springs, CO, and Marc Poland of Discover Church in Philadelphia, PA. You can view this video in the ARC Resource File Library under training videos.

How to Choose the Right Team

CORNERSTONES FOR TEAM BUILDING

What do you consider as the key factors when choosing who will be on your leadership team? Some leaders prefer to elevate people who show commitment even though they may not have the same level of charisma or gifting as someone else. Sometimes we put people in leadership positions because they are talented, even though they still need to grow in some areas. It is a delicate balance, but here are three areas to consider that I think will help when selecting the people who will work directly with you.

ATTRIBUTES OF A TEAM MEMBER WHO WILL LAST

Character
When you promote someone, you send a message to everyone else in your ministry of what you celebrate and what gets your attention. Often, a person’s character goes unnoticed, but you must show that it is a priority for you by elevating leaders who have demonstrated integrity.

We want the stars that will shine the longest, not necessarily the brightest. If you desire team members that will last, then make sure that their character is strong enough to support and sustain their gifting.

Capacity
While faithfulness is essential, it cannot be the only attribute we identify for promotion. Capacity also needs to be considered. This area of leadership covers a person’s giftedness and ability to continue to grow. Just like the area of character, it may take time to evaluate a leader’s capacity fully.

It is important to note that the same person who is good at doing a job may not be the best person to manage and motivate others to do that job. When you form a leadership team, you have to have people who can do the job and lead the people doing the job. Accomplishing this takes identifying someone’s capacity to grow into the role of being a leader.

Chemistry
For a team to last, there must also be chemistry. I believe you need to like the people that report directly to you. You do not have to be B.F.F. with every leader in your church. You need a variety of people and personalities to minister to the different types of people who walk through your doors. On the other hand, you should not have someone on your top leadership team who you do not look forward to seeing when you meet.

It would help if you also considered how a leader interacts with the other people on your team. Someone can have character, be gifted, and make your day when you see them, but if they do not get along with the rest of your team, you will have issues. Make sure they are not telling you just what you want to hear when you are around while not making an effort to get along with others. Your team has to have chemistry if it is also going to have longevity.

Bonus: Calling
One thing that often gets overlooked is that transition is a natural part of every team. Not everyone will be with you forever. That’s how swamps are made. Water flows in, but it never flows out. Sometimes someone has to go to make room for someone else you did not know you needed. You want your team to be committed, but you also want to make room for other people’s calling and the bigger picture of what God is up to in people’s lives.

This blog first appeared at arcchurches.com.

The New Way to Do Church

21 Online Church Innovations

I visited as many churches online as I could this Sunday. During my church channel surfing, I learned a lot about the adjustments churches are making to bring their worship experience online. For many churches, live streaming has already been available. Now that online is the only way churches can gather for Sunday Services, some are mixing things up to create a new type of online worship experience. 

The 21 things I saw churches doing seem to fall in one of the following categories: Presentation (of the message), Worship (the music), Connection, Information, and Access.

Presentation

Join people in their homes by creating an intimate environment to share your message instead of preaching from a platform. For example, teach from your living room as if you were in a small group gathering.

Have a one-on-one conversation with people.

Give your church something consistent in a time when everything else seems to be changing by teaching from the stage as usual.

Worship

Creating a studio worship experience that offers some variety from what people may be expecting.

Use pre-recorded worship to simplify your production while still delivering a quality worship experience.

Take worship to the living room with a small group acoustic set.

Have the worship team on stage for a familiar setup for worship.

Connection

Use social media to take people behind the scenes.

Take communion virtually. Bring liturgy into the living and connect tangibly with those in your church.

It’s time to chat during church. Man the conversation feed for a personal touch.

Pradeepan and Amreitha Jeeva at their Macs and ready to chat!

Encourage online community by sharing a hashtag and asking those watching to post a pic.

Daniel E. Groves demonstrates how to take a selfie before the Hope City broadcast.
Jeremy Foster, Hope City Church

Connect before you communicate. Take some time to get real before jumping into your message. Talk about the reality of how people are having to join church this morning, and what life looks like right now.

Scott and Kelly Niemeier, HighPoint Church

Information

Speak to your church directly with a video on your homepage explaining what they can expect from you and your church during this time.

Brad and Jessica Hampton, SOCO Church

Have a pre-show that informs and encourages your church. Give them tips for worshiping online and sharing the broadcast on their social media.

https://www.soco.church

Before you kick of your live stream let your church know what you have available for kids and students.

Andy and Christy Cass, Echo Church

Make it is easy to give and get COVID-19 updates. Put vital information in your Facebook Live Stream.

Pradeepan and Amreitha Jeeva, Kalos Church

Have your broadcast schedule available if you are not currently broadcasting.

Jimn Kyles, Anchor Bend

Access

Offer people multiple platforms to join your live stream on a landing page and on your home page.

Shaun Nepstad, Fellowship Church, Antioch, CA

Make your replay immediately available for those who may be viewing your church online for the first time and do not know your service times.

Terrence and Johanne Wilson, Cool Church

Take your worship guide online with a worship experience landing page that tells people how to connect and where to take next steps.

Rich Wilkerson Jr., Vous Church

Create a Facebook event for your weekend service with live streaming information that people can share.

Terrence and Johanne Wilson, Cool Church

This Sunday showed me there are many great online church experiences. I really enjoyed tuning in and hearing from people I normally wouldn’t be able to get a message from.

What are some other things you see churches doing that seems to be working well in this new church online landscape? Leave a comment and let me know!

10 Live Streaming Solutions for Churches Adjusting to COVID-19 Outbreak

How to Connect with Your Church Online During Social Distancing

Some churches are adjusting to holding services online for the first time now that social distancing guidelines are in place across the country. How can we help pastors live streaming for the first time avoid mistakes and interruptions to their broadcast? Here is a list of tips and insights to help make the transition smoother.

  1. Avoid being kicked off of Facebook and Youtube by not playing copyrighted music in your pre-service buffer video.
    • For example: if you are playing Hillsong on your pre-service countdown video you can get kicked off for copyright infringement.
    • Live music is fine, but playing tracks could cause the music to be picked up as copyrighted.
  2. Combine your efforts. If you do not have a permanent location or equipment team up with other churches that do.
    • Maybe one person has the equipment and the other has the permanent space. Or maybe you have team members that can do worship that will be used by all on the team-up. What a witness this could be for your community.
  3. Encourage people to share the premier instead of hosting multiple watch parties for greater interaction. 
    • “For greater interaction on Facebook live (both live or pre-recorded)… watch parties and multiple services actually hurt interactions. Doing just one 10am service allowed us to exceed all my expectations with interactions online. Watch parties took people away from the momentum of numbers in our primary group chat and viewers.” Contributed by Brad Hampton, Soco Church, Bentonville, AR. 
  4. “Designate someone to run and man the stream chat as there were questions and comments in real-time that needed to be addressed and or deleted.” Contributed by Michael Matthew, Eternal Rock Church, Houston TX 
  5. The benefits of pre-recording vs live streaming.
    • “Higher resolution on broadcasting prerecorded. Post-production editing. Adding text, videos, slides in post-production editing, for churches that are unable to steam that content in real-time. Broadcasting prerecorded overall decreases the room for error.  We have the ability to live stream. But just pre-recorded last night for this weekend. And they’re going to pre-record for the next two or three weekends Starting tomorrow.” Contributed by John Pomeroy, New Anthem Church, Mount Clemens, MI
  6. Free live streaming is available. Church Online Platform from Open Church (Life.Church and the Bible App) is totally free and will always be free. You can find out more here: https://churchonlineplatform.com.
    • “At Life.Church, one of our core values is irrational generosity. We’re committed to equipping the “capital C” Church in every way we can. That’s why the Church Online Platform is available completely free of charge. Our definition of “free” extends to support and updates, too. You’ll get personalized customer service, software upgrades, and new features for the life of the tool.”
  7. Free Resources for Kids:
  8. Worship Solutions from Substance Church
  9. A Church Communications Strategy/Calendar during Covid-19. Live Stream Content Starting at 9:44 https://youtu.be/35QtLDdLrsM  (Contributed by Jon-Michael Sherman, TheRocket.Media)
  10. More live stream options:

Outreach Ideas During the COVID-19 Outbreak

How to connect with the needs of your community during social distancing.

Outreach can be challenging with social distancing guidelines in place. You need to make sure you are considering your community’s guidelines for social distancing and that you are staying up to date as things are continuing to change so quickly.

A new obstacle also means a new opportunity to meet people’s needs. What are the new needs being presented as a result of this outbreak and how can we reach out to help during this time? Here are some things church planters are doing to reach people in need as a result of COVID-19.

  1. Offer free grocery, toiletry, and medication delivery for those most vulnerable. Getting payment from them via Venmo or picking up cash before shopping. Contributed by: Austin Coleman, HEART and SOUL, Knoxville, TN, @heartandsoul.church
  2. Offer free coffee at a local coffee shop for medical professionals. Contributed by: Andy and Christy Cass, Echo Church, Rochester, MN, @wearetheechochurch
  3. Have your Children’s ministry organize making cards for those in assisted living facilities that can’t receive guests. Contributed by: Chris Shinnick, Manna Church West Florida, Niceville, FL, @MannaChurchFL
  4. Buy grocery store gift cards (can be as small as $5) and hand them out with God loves you cards or church invite cards at gas stations to help with those struggling financially. Contributed by: Chris Shinnick, Manna Church West Florida, Niceville, FL, @MannaChurchFL
  5. Assist with local food pantry as a drop off point. Contributed by: Chris Shinnick, Manna Church West Florida, Niceville, FL, @MannaChurchFL
  6. Call senior citizen members of your church. Just check-in, pray with them and find out if there is any need you can meet. Contributed by: Chad Fisher, Rock City Church, Columbus OH, @rockcitychurch
  7. Set up a Facebook group connecting parents and teachers to help with homeschooling. Contributed by: Angela Mooney, Relate Community Church, Spring, TX, @relatecommunitychurch
  8. Offer a drive up with non-perishables for people to pick up. Contributed by: Laura Strand, The Bridge, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, MO,  @thebridgechurchmo
  9. Leave a card with a note of encouragement or free coffee on the cars of healthcare workers. Contributed by: Laura Strand, The Bridge, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, MO,  @thebridgechurchmo
  10. Let your neighbors know times you are available to pick things up for them with a God loves you card. Contributed by: Laura Strand, The Bridge, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, MO,  @thebridgechurchmo
  11. Collecting items to deliver to medical workers on duty (granola bars, bottled coffees, snacks, gas gift cards, etc). Contributed by: Betsy Davis, Hope Church KC, Kansas City, MO, @hopechurchkc
  12. Help with food distribution via local organizations or schools to reach the kids who won’t have access to food while schools are closed. Contributed by: Betsy Davis, Hope Church KC, Kansas City, MO, @hopechurchkc
  13. Buy gift cards for gas and hand them out with God loves you cards or church invite cards at gas stations to help with those struggling financially. Contributed by: Ana Silvestre, Venture Church, Salinas, CA, @Venturechurchsalinas  
  14. Provided lunch for people working overtime at school administration building (eLearning, cleaning, communications, etc). We showed up with box lunches from a local restaurant. Contributed by: Chad Lunsford, Echo Church, Avon, IN, @EchoChurch.cc
  15. Offer online financial crisis coaching (and prayer). (the leaders of our financial peace university are doing this for people in our church) It would be cool to offer this to the public based on Biblical principles. Contributed by: Amreitha Jeeva, Kalos Church, Bellevue, WA, @kaloschurch

Remember the kids:

With kids at home, this is a great opportunity to minister to families. You can post a new activity to your social media each day that families can do at home. Have someone from your children’s ministry shoot a quick video talking to kids. Post resources that families can use that would be helpful during this time.

More Resources:

ARC Resources and Support

COVID-19 and How to Serve Your City By Serve Day

What Do We Do Now? By Serve Day

15 Things Church Planters Can Do During COVID-19 Outbreak


Strategies for Church Planters Adjusting to COVID-19 and Social Distancing

What do you do if you are a church planter preparing for a launch day later in 2020 or 2021? The landscape is changing day-by-day right now. Things may look different a week or two weeks from now. Even so, I wanted to share some things that can help church planters move forward in a time where social distancing is the rule and there is a pandemic impacting people’s live like we have not seen in recent memory.

If you are a church planter here are 15 things you can do right now:

  1. Pray –
    1. That the spread of this virus would be contained and that we will see a turnaround in the number of people being infected and dying from this disease.
    2. For healthcare workers.
    3. For wisdom for leaders.
    4. For those impacted by the virus.
    5. For people to place their trust in God.
  2. Follow Community guidelines regarding social distancing. Educate yourself on what others are doing to implement these guidelines and learn from their messaging.
  3. Have contingency plans for launch day. Have three timelines. For example:
    1. Plan for your September Launch Day.
    2. Have a backup plan to launch in October
    3. What would it look like to launch at the beginning of November or in 2021?
  4. Website – Make sure to have a landing page if not a recruiting website up as soon as possible.
  5. Giving – Make giving easy by having online options available. Some platforms will offer free use of their giving platform for church planters for an introductory period. 
  6. Go online with your message now. Don’t wait for Launch Day or Sunday to start offering hope and prayer. Take advantage of social media platforms to offer messages of hope, pointing people to God, encouragement, and prayer.
    1. Offer online prayer meetings.
    2. Offer daily short encouragement.
  7. Offer a listening ear. One of the greatest gifts we can give someone is the time to hear them out. FaceTime or call people and just check-in, ask questions, listen, and offer to pray with them.
  8. Stay informed. Be in touch with what is happening in our nation, your state, and your local community. What guidelines are being given and what needs are being presented that can be prayed for?
  9. Be Others Focused – Make everything you do and say is about the people you are serving and not about you and your church or your unique needs in this uncharted landscape of church planting.
  10. Prepare the things now that don’t involve meeting with people or will take away from your time focusing on people once some of the meeting guidelines are lifted.
  11. Look for the opportunities to serve that are being presented that may not be available if circumstances were different. Serving local business and medical professionals For example:
    1. Offering free coffee in the drive-through at a local coffee shop to medical professionals.
    2. Support for families at home with kids.
  12. Stay connected to your church network and other ministry leaders for encouragement, resources, and new ideas to continue moving forward.
  13. Broadcast – Learn how to use live streaming platforms for online presentations. For example: 
    1. Quick Guidelines for Live Streaming a Church Service
    2. Zoom
    3. Facebook Premiere
    4. Youtube Premiere
    5. Church Online Platform
  14. Use money wisely. Make every dollar count and save when you can and spend only what is necessary. Wait when you can, and trust God with your financial preparations.
  15. Use technology to stay connected to your team during social distancing
    • Group Messaging Apps: Slack and GroupMe
    • Cloud Services for collaboration: Google Drive & Evernote
    • Video Messaging: Marco Polo & Google Hangouts
    • Facebook: Groups, Page, Chat, & Messaging
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
    • Youtube: Public Videos, Private Videos for Your Team, & Past Broadcasts

What else would be helpful? Add to the list in the comments below. Thanks!

4 Things You May Not Know About Church Planting

Church planters are like the special forces of ministry. It takes courage to launch out into the unknown to serve people you have never met. It’s a worthy cause and one filled with lots of surprises along the way.

Some of the things I have learned working with church planters at ARC is what you would expect. Church planting is risky. You should get lots of experience leading and teaching in a local church before launching out. It requires a lot of coffee. Others were a surprise to discover. 

Here are 4 things you may not have considered about church planting:

Fundraising is easier and harder than you think.

When you make fundraising about the vision and the people you are going to reach, then it becomes much easier to make the ask. You are not asking for you. You are asking for the people you are going to reach. This frees you up to step out because you know what people are giving to is going to make an eternal difference.

This doesn’t mean fundraising is easy. In fact, in some ways fundraising is harder than you think. It is not something that starts or stops in the launch phase of a church plant. It starts long before you have the need by being faithful and considerate in the way you build relationships. It continues long after the launch because your church will continue to utilize financial resources to grow, reach more people, and serve the hurting and overlooked.

There is a language to church planting.

You must learn and speak the language of a church planter if you are going to start a church. When Jesus spoke he used stories and illustrations that were common to those he was speaking to. Church planters must use the same principle when starting a church.

You speak the language of a church planter when you translate insider Christian language into messaging everyone can understand. One way to do this is by communicating your reason for planting a church in a way that is meaningful to not only someone who already values faith and spirituality, but those you hope to reach as well. 

How you leave one season determines how you enter the next.

If you want to reap in favor, then you need to sow in honor. Even the best transitions can be challenging because a disconnection is taking place. When you speak well of, honor, and respect the wishes of your sending pastor you are investing in your own future by attracting loyal followers yourself.

When you go into your city it can be easy to only think of the needs of your new church plant. But remember, you are entering a community of existing churches. One day, you will be on the other end of a new church planter moving into your area. Lead the way with honor. Create an environment of unity in your city by asking how you can serve the other churches in your community instead of asking what they can do for you.

It takes longer than you think

You may be able to launch your church with ARC in as short as 6 months. This doesn’t mean everything you hoped to see will happen right away. It takes time to grow. Many times God has to grow your capacity as a leader before your church’s capacity to attract people can increase as well.

There are many aspects of your vision to start a church that will not be online for day one. Trying to get everything going all at once can lead to discouragement in you and exhaustion in your team. Dividing your focus prematurely can also lead to you not giving the essentials the attention they deserve. Parts of the vision will be realized on day one, others the next year, and still others in the years to come.

Church planting is an exciting journey filled with unexpected twists and turns. It also brings the reward of witnessing the miracle of new faith community being born first hand. If you like to find out more about starting a new church with ARC, we’d love for you to connect with us. Please go to arcchurches.com and click “start a church.” We have some free resources available to you just for reaching out.

If you are a church planter then I would love to hear from you! What were some things you didn’t expect that you found out after launching out to start a church?

*This post first appears as a contribution on KevMill.com.